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How to Sew A Narrow Hem


A narrow hem is a thin hem that’s turned twice and stitched in place. Also referred to as a rolled hem, it’s subtle and small, hardly noticeable on the garment. Narrow hems don’t add weight to the hemline, making them suitable for sheer and lightweight garments. They’re tidy, neat and professional and look good on both the right and wrong sides of the fabric.

Narrow hem detail

Narrow hem detail

A slightly wider narrow hem

A slightly wider narrow hem


Narrow hems are best on lightweight fabrics. Narrow hems can be used on sleeves, ruffles and flounces and hems of blouses, skirts and dresses. Because only a small amount is folded and stitched, it’s a great hem finish for sheer fabrics and for curved edges, as folding and sewing a large amount of fabric is hard to do on a curve. You’ll see narrow hems on napkins, tablecloths and bed linens. Narrow hems work well on bias garments because they’re easy to manage and don’t weigh down the lower edge. Because they look good on both sides of the fabric, they’re a good choice when the wrong side of the garment will be visible. Use narrow hems when you want to preserve as much length as possible.

Tips + Notes

  • Measure and shorten the length of your garment, if necessary, before starting the narrow hem.
  • Sew narrow hems in contrast thread or metallic thread for a decorative effect.
  • Your machine may have a special foot for sewing rolled hems or narrow hems. Check your owner’s manual for how to set it up.


How to sew a narrow hem (1)

To prepare the edge for a narrow hem, reduce the hem allowance to 5⁄8″ (1.5cm). If your pattern piece has a wider hem allowance than that, trim off the extra all along the hemline. Stitch ¼” (6mm) along the edge to be hemmed. I like to use the edge of my presser foot as a guide.

How to sew a narrow hem (2)

Press the stitched edge under so the stitching is just barely rolled to the inside, approximately 1⁄16″ (1mm–2mm) from the fold. Trim the seam allowance as close as possible to the line of stitching.

How to sew a narrow hem (3)

Fold the edge in again, along the trimmed edge, and press. You should have a very narrow pressed hem, approximately 1⁄8″ (3mm).

How to sew a narrow hem (4)

Edgestitch (page link) along the fold. Hold onto the thread tails when you start, so the machine doesn’t eat your hem edge. Here’s a close-up of the narrow hem. The goal is to have it look nice from both sides!

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine